In football, it’s always the home shirt that a club gets recognised by. This could be down to the fact that it is the shirt that is worn at home, the one that those famous nights in their home stadium are remembered by.
The away shirt is often overlooked, but more recently it has become the shirt that the team uses to make some extra money, wearing it when they don’t have to, just to try and get people to buy it.
Over the past 10 years, Northern Ireland have had eight different away shirts, and in this article, I am going to share my five favourite away shirts from the past decade, as well as a little history surrounding these shirts.
The first away shirt in the decade, Northern Ireland opted for a white and navy option to wear away from home. This kit was actually the 2009-10 away kit for the ‘Green and White Army’ but it failed to make an appearance, with it living on for another year.
The shirt made its debut against Albania on March 3 2010, with the Albanians winning the tie 1-0 through Ervin Skela scoring the only goal of the match for the hosts.
This was the only outing for the away kit, but the shorts made a second appearance when Northern Ireland defeated Slovenia away from home, with Corry Evans netting the winner in the 70th minute.
From the start of the last decade to the beginning of a new one. The 2020 Northern Ireland away kit has just been released with the ‘Ice Blue’ being replaced with white. The white was accompanied by the navy of the collar and mint along with the navy on the sleeves.
This shirt is yet to make its debut, with fixtures at the moment being up in the air. We will never know when it was expected to make its debut, with the Nations League play-off semi-final against Bosnia and Herzegovina being the fixture that was earmarked for the kits debut, especially with the time of the launch.
This kit could be Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 (possibly 21?) away shirt, but with kits being launched more and more frequently, the lifespan of this kit is unknown. Though it is still expected to be worn right until the end of 2021, with a new kit potentially being released for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, should Northern Ireland qualify.
Adidas returned as the shirt manufacturer in 2012, the same company Northern Ireland used when they qualified for the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups. This away kit was the second kit that Adidas had designed, and the simple white and green design was a hit with the fans, after the protests about the price.
The shirt made its debut against Cyprus in a friendly on the 5th of March 2014, with the tie ending in a 0-0 draw. In the 2014 summer tour to South America, the kit got a second outing in a 2-0 defeat to Chile, with goals coming from Eduardo Vargas and Mauricio Pinilla in the second half.
The kit made another appearance in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Hungary, with Niall McGinn and Kyle Lafferty scoring late on the cancel out Tamás Priskin’s strike a few minutes earlier, to give Northern Ireland a 2-1 victory. This was the final outing for this strip, being officially retired a month later.
The final shirt that Umbro produced for Northern Ireland saw a double chevron appear on the chest. This chevron incorporated the traditional Northern Ireland football colour of green along with the navy that was on the sleeves of the previous strip.
This shirt was definitely not one that Northern Ireland fans will remember for the results, with the design somewhat making up for a disappointing spell of results. It made its debut against the Republic of Ireland in the Carling Nations Cup on the 25th May, with the Republic of Ireland running out 5-0 winners. It made another appearance three days later against Wales, in the Carling Nations Cup, losing 2-0.
The shirt was used against Italy five months later in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, with an Antonio Cassano brace and a Gareth McAuley own goal giving the Italians a 3-0 victory. This was the final time the strip was used, bringing an end to a disappointing run of results in one of the nicest shirts that the ‘Green and White Army’ have worn.
This kit raised a few eyebrows when it was released, with it being so different from the previous shirts the ‘Green and White Army’ have had. This ‘Ice Blue’ strip quickly became a fan favourite, with the shirt making its debut….at home.
The shirt made its first appearance at home against South Korea, in what was effectively a chance to promote the kit for more sales. Debutant Paul Smyth made the kit even more popular coming on late in the game to score the winner, in the stadium where he made his name in playing for Linfield.
The kit has caused a few issues in terms of selection, with FIFA not liking teams to play in green vs blue. The previous white and green away kit has often been favoured, with the ice blue strip being used when it can. It has been used in the Nations League against Austria, with the Austrians running out 1-0 winners, along with the kit having another big moment when Josh Magennis headed Northern Ireland into the lead against the Netherlands before they came back and won 3-1.